Spring in Texas means the birds sing, wild flowers bloom, and wine is poured. Many years ago when my husband and I began our wine journeys and attending wine festivals, they weren’t as frequent as they are now. Back then there were only a couple of wine festivals a month. Now there are so many in a weekend it’s hard to keep up with the ones you want to attend. However, we do have our favorites that we try not to miss, and when we can, we try to visit new festivals we hear about to support the organizers and the wineries included.
One of these new festivals that we have added to our favorite list is Rootstock: A Texas Wine Festival just off I-35 in Waco on the banks of the Brazos River in Indian Spring Park. This festival was started by the wonderful folks at Valley Mills Vineyards and run by their General Manager Joey Bagnasco. This festival takes place on April 13th this year and in Texas that could mean good weather…or bad. It could be warm and sunny like the first year the festival was held in 2016, or it could be windy and cold like the next two years. But even though the weather might not be picture perfect, the wines are spot on and the attendees have a great time all the same.
Wine festivals are a great way to get together with family who may not live nearby. Last year we met up with Shelly’s cousin, Tom, and his wife, Angela, from the Tyler area. They decided that would be a fun weekend getaway to join us at the festival. We had a great time walking around the festival trying to find their new favorite Texas wine! Since they walked back to their truck with several bottles in tow, I’m pretty sure we succeeded.
Joey and his team do a great job supporting the Texas wine industry and making sure the wineries that attend the festival bring their Texas wine A-game. The wineries that attend are all award winning while using Texas fruit. To round out the day, there are musical acts, lawn games, chairs and tables, food trucks, and a large tent to protect from the elements. This is a festival that allows wine for sale by the glass as well as bottle sales. That is definitely the glory of wine festivals. You get to wander around and taste wines all at the same place and when you find one, or two…or more… that you like, you can make your purchase right then and there and take those favorites home to enjoy.
Wine festivals are a great opportunity to try wines from far flung places in Texas. I mean, Farmhouse Vineyards was there all the way from Meadow (that’s pronounced “Medda,” mind you) out in the High Plains where many of the grapes used in Texas wines are grown. Hye Meadow Winery came up from the wide spot in Hye down on Hwy 290, Blue Ostrich Winery came down from St Jo way up on the Red River near the Oklahoma border, and Brennan Vineyards came over from Comanche. While it would take you most of a week or more to travel to all of these wineries individually across the vastness of this large state, you can easily get to all of them in the afternoon you spend at Rootstock.
And then after the festival is over and the wineries have gone back down their paths, there’s an opportunity to enjoy a lovely dinner in a very unique setting: on the historic Waco Suspension Bridge neighboring Indian Springs Park. You will experience an exquisitely catered multi-course dinner paired with delicious wines from Valley Mills Vineyards while watching the sunset reflected on the river below.
We hope to see you at this year’s Rootstock wine festival! Be sure to check the Texas Wine Lover wine festival list for all of the year’s wine festivals. There will probably be one near you!